Nazar Abdulwahid Al-Radhi, a correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was shot and killed in the southern Iraqi city of Al-Amarah today. Al-Radhi is the second correspondent for RFE/RL's Arabic language service, Radio Free Iraq (RFI) to die in the past seven weeks.
Al-Radhi had just crossed a street in front of the Al-Arusa Hotel when armed men in a pickup truck opened fire -- first on Al-Radhi, then on journalists gathered in front of the hotel after a journalism workshop Al-Radhi had just covered for RFI. An eyewitness said Al-Radhi was hit by four bullets and died instantly, while several of the other journalists were injured. Al-Radhi had been threatened previously because of his work for a "foreign agency" and his uncompromising stand against extremism. Al-Radhi was 37 years old; he is survived by his mother, wife and four children (ages 9, 7, 5 and 2).
RFE/RL President Jeff Gedmin expressed condolences to Al-Radhi's family, noting that: "Mr. Al-Radhi was liked and respected by all his RFE/RL colleagues. We mourn his loss and honor his memory." Gedmin said Al-Radhi reported on social issues impacting the daily lives of his fellow citizens in Al-Amarah and risked his life to tell the world what was happening in his home town in Iraq's Maysan province. "I condemn the murder of Al-Radhi, on the streets of the city he loved. He was a dedicated and courageous correspondent. The best tribute we can pay him is to continue his work," Gedmin said.
Radio Free Iraq Baghdad correspondent Khamail Muhsin Khalaf, a former TV anchor, was abducted and killed in early April. Her body was found in western Baghdad on April 5. Muhsin, the mother of three children, was 50 years old.
Like Muhsin Khalaf, Al-Radhi was a well-known journalist in Iraq. In addition to reporting regularly for RFE/RL, he also worked for the independent news agency "Aswat al-Iraq" (Voices of Iraq), the daily newspaper "Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed" (The New Morning), and headed a non-governmental organization for young journalists funded by the Iraqi government.
Radio Free Iraq broadcasts 17 hours a day (five hours of core original programming with updates throughout the day), produced in Prague and the service's Baghdad Bureau and transmitted to listeners via via nationwide AM and satellite signals and FM broadcasts on IBB transmitters located in Baghdad, Arbil, Basra, Kirkuk, Mosul, Nasiriyah, Samawa, and Sulaymaniyah. Iraq Service programming is also available via the Internet, at the service's website www.iraqhurr.org and at www.rferl.org; English-language news about events in Iraq can be found on the RFE/RL website.